Updates and Observations
optics of President-Elect Joe Biden selecting defeated Sen. Doug
Jones (D-AL) as his Attorney General would be a bad political move
since he pledged during his campaign to address the ongoing police
killings of unarmed Black males. His AG should be a Black male, and
his failure to appoint one could cost him the House majority in the
2022 midterms as young Blacks and progressives sit them out.
Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latinx, and Native American
turnout could well decide whether the Democrats or Republicans win
the two Georgia U.S. Senate seats up for grabs on January 5th.
Biden has promised that his family would not have “any
involvement with any foreign government at all”
while he is in the White House. He needs to pay special attention to
his son, Hunter, and his brother, Jim, who have borrowed money from
and/or gone into business with several of Biden’s major donors
over the years.
Biden is in the throes of a difficult political educational, and
taking forward and backward steps as he assembles his administration.
His largely all White - with White males in the key roles - foreign
policy cabinet appointments overlook the changing demographics of the
world and the nation.
he has been sensitive to diversity, he needs to recognize that he
has, to date, been given a pass by key members of the Democratic base
of Black women who are primarily responsible for him taking the
presidential oath on January 20, 2021. Without the specific early
support of four Black females, his victories in Arizona, Georgia,
Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin would likely have been more
Emily Clyburn, Rep. Jim Clyburn’s late wife, was the linchpin
in Clyburn’s stirring speech in backing Biden’s candidacy
three days before the February 2020 South Carolina’s Democratic
presidential primary, when he lagged behind the frontrunners. That
singular act propelled him to the nomination. Ms. Emily, who was
wildly popular among Black women, sealed the victory from her grave.
subjected Atty. and Professor Anita Hill to savage misogyny by the
Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chaired, during the 1991
confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas’ appointment to U.S.
Supreme Court. And it took more than two decades before he summoned
the awareness and courage to apologize. Hill endorsed him.
Linda Darling-Hammond, who chaired the 2008 Obama-Biden transition
committee for the Department of Education, and was viewed as being
the Education Secretary designate, was summarily passed over, for a
less qualified candidate, at the behest of billionaire campaign
donors. She took the slight on the chin, carried out her assignment,
and never uttered a word.
Biden called on her again to assume the same role in the aftermath of
Betsy DeVos’ disastrous reign as Secretary of Education, Dr.
Darling Hammond re-assumed the role in service to her country. She
has publicly let it be known that she does not want to be considered
for the position again, but she would be an ideal and by far the best
Darling-Hammond’s reluctance to go into the Biden-Harris
administration, they should beseech her to reconsider because it is
in the national interest. Moreover, given the rapid declines in the
education of low-income students, especially those of color,
throughout the pandemic, it is also a matter of national security.
Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States
Department of Agriculture
during the Obama-Biden administration, was summarily dismissed by
then Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsacks after a doctored video on a
conservative website accused her of discriminating against a White
farmer. After she exposed the hoax herself, both Vilsacks and Obama
apologized in person.
and Vilsacks offered Sherrod another job in the Department, which she
turned down. In her book, The
Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear (2012),
was kind to Vilsacks, Obama, and Biden and has supported Biden’s
ascension to the presidency. A classy lady, she harbors no ill will
and has moved on with her life as an advocate for African American
and other small farmers.
is most instructive here is that Biden has been given a substantive
political education by Black women to whom he has not always
presented his best self. Like teachers with perplexing students in
our nation’s perpetually under-resourced classrooms, they
embraced him nonetheless. The question which remains, however, is
whether he has sufficiently learned his lesson that politics is about
addition, not subtraction.
that Biden is taking office in a period where he will have an
exceedingly narrow House majority and a one vote Senate Democratic
majority or a Republican majority, he must take extreme care not to
alienate any segment of his Democratic base. He must bring both
progressives and centrists, of a younger ilk, into meaningful
governing roles under his presidential tent and quell ongoing
must become an “A” student, in attending to the complex
problems of his Democratic base, during a brief span of time if his
presidency is to enjoy any success. His first and most important task
will be to assemble a team that will broadly satisfy his Democratic
supporters. Hopefully, he has learned from his mistakes in
interacting with the aforementioned women who still makeup his most
he will fail as President and go into the history books as a loser
like his immediate predecessor, Donald John Trump. Neither Democrats
nor the nation can afford for that to happen.